The story is about a girl named Ronja who is the daughter of a chief of a tribe of bandits and lives in a huge castle in the forest with the bandits. The story follows Ronja as she encounters mystical creatures, makes friends with another young child like herself, and experiences life in the forest.
It is hard to not make a biased review of this show if you are from Sweden, which I am. "Why?" you may ask.
This show is based on the story "Ronia the robbers daughter" (Ronja rövardotter), written by one of Swedens most beloved author Astrid Lindgren and made into a movie in 1984 by Tage Danielsson. The movie by Tage Danielsson is one of the top 10 most watched movies in Sweden. Even today it is impossible to escape this movie if you grow up in Sweden.
Because of this swedes will ether hate or love this show. I personally is biased towards loving it. Therefore, If I were to make a complete review, it would probably be an awfully lot of text, ending with a strong recommendation to go and watch this show now. I will however only talk about some things I find especially worth mentioning about this show.
In my opinion the show manage to do the original story justice.
The series faithfully follows the book, takes some inspiration from Tage Danielssons movie while adding the well known Ghibli flavor to it. The result is original and nostalgic at the same time.
The series is slow paced and really spends time fleshing out the characters. Don't expect any fast-paced action-filled adventure. This series likes to take its time and let the moments sink in. While watching this I have noticed things about the story, characters and environment I never thought about in the original.
When it comes to bizarre creatures, Studio Ghibli are masters. This story contains some strange creatures which is depicted in a very Ghiblish way. The most successful one in my opinion being the Harpies. These evil birdlike creatures was meant to be scary in the original story. Tage Danielssons version of them may be scary if you are a 6 year old child. But the Ghibli Harpies gives me goosebumps every time I see them.
The animation is done with CGI, which is unusual for a Ghibli production. Sadly it makes some scenes look a little bit too synthetic. In other scenes they have manage to squeeze in enough filler animation in between everything to makes the characters feel more organic and alive.
When I first started watching the series I had some problems accepting the CGI animations. I had hoped for a classic hand-drawn Ghibli production. But I guess this was the tradeoff they had to do to make it a 26 episode series.
After a couple of episodes however I stopped noticing it.
For most people I think the animation is where this show will stand or fall. Its not bad, but its not what you would expect.
Some will probably find the protagonist Ronja to be a little annoying in the first 3 or 5 episodes. While she is out exploring the world she finds even the simples things in the forest very amusing. She is constantly laughing intensely at everything. This is a passing phase and won't be that extreme the whole series.
Ronja is really a very cute series! I had the highest expectations about it because it was the first animated series made by Studio Ghibli, even knowing that was used digital resources on it.
To begin with it, the story is based on the book written by a swedish writer named Astrid Lindgren, and tells us the tale of Ronja, daughter of Mattis (a bandit leader) and Lovis, his wife. She lives at the Mattis's Fortress (originally Mattisborgen), which consists on a abandoned castle, split in half by a thunderbolt that struck it on the day Ronja was born. After the storm, the rival bandit clan, Borka's Thieves, takes half of the fortress. Some time later, Ronja meets Birk, Borka's son, and they become friends, even against their fathers will. When the clash between the clans gets worse, Ronja and Birk decide to leave the fortress, starting to live together within a cave hidden in the forest.
Mattis's desire to retrieve his little girl makes him ask for a truce with Borka, reducing the rivalry between the clans a little bit. The book consists on a parable about affection and conflicts at childhood between father and daughter, the discovery of love and independence, the wisdom of a life side by side with the nature and tolerance, at a broad sense. It was translated to a bunch of different languages, and it is an international success.
You can notice that the art is a bit different than Hayao's designs, because Goro decided to bet on digital resources (while Hayao preferred to draw all Ponyo's scenaries by hand, for example) on his animations. But that's not a real problem, considerating that he was the director of Tales from Earthsea or Kokurikozaka kara, that we all know how awesome it was.
The synopsis of the animations seems a little more fanciful than the book's, but the essence is the same: Ronja is the only and loved daughter of Mattis, who's a good hearted leader of a colorful and funny group of bandits, that lives on a huge castle at the forest. Ronja was born while a storm was raging, but her personality is cheerful and loving. And much like her father, she has a good heart, but at the same time, is a reckless girl. She starts to study the misterious creatures that live at the forest, meeting other children and then, starts to question her father's behavior.
Polygon Pictures is a 3D CG partner of Studio Ghibli on the series. It will be the first time that Goro Miyazaki will be running an animated series for television. Satoshi Takebe (from "From Up on Poppy Hill") will be the responsible for Ronja's soundtrack. And that's fabulous, I love him!
Sanzoku no Musume Ronja or "Ronja - Daughter of the Thief (or Robber)" have a captivating cast and a promising story.
To me it looks so awesome as any other story coming from Studio Ghibli, and I was waiting for months until the series went out. And, if you want to know, I really loved the first five episodes. The story follows the original plot, the characters are incredibly sympathetic, the music is nice and the scenarios are gorgeous. The harpies from story are scary and the interpretation of the "wolf song" was great. I'm not the kind of people who dislikes 3D animation, although I saw some people complaining about it. Probably because I sincerely trust the Studio, and I will for sure keep watching this series!
Futhermore, Ronja and Birk are also cute together... Even giving me agony for being too naive or jumping off cliffs as if they were jumping out of bed.
Its funny, but sometimes it becomes a little... Weird. Especially Mattis. But Ronja's momma always save it.
I think it's really cool, like I said before. When you get used with the 3D effect, you will find it awesome too.
The songs are beautiful and clean. Even as a musician, I really have nothing to complain about.
They are nice, even if sometimes the adults look a little childish and the kids too adult.
It's a funny and loving story. It seems to get better and better. I hope it continues this way.
Give it a chance, guys! I said it was cute so many times, but I really think it is!read more
I had high expectations for this anime for two reasons: It's animated by Studio Ghibli and it's based on an awesome novel I like a lot. The anime maybe didn't live up to all my expectations, but it was a very enjoyable watch. It's a sweet and cute anime with a good and occasionally very deep storyline with enough humor and some moments that can be even frightening and cruel.
I had difficulties getting used to the CGI animation used with the characters and that was the main disappointment to me. Although after a few episodes it wasn't something that was constantly distracting me, I was paying attention to it throughout the series. On the other side, the background art was very beautifully excecuted and the forest felt fresh and real.
The series is very relaxed and for some people the slow pacing might be a negtive issue. For me, however, the slow pacing worked well. Both the characters and the watcher were given time to enjoy the nature and the atmosphere and get into the mood of the series. I also found the pacing to be nothing forced or strained - the series developed on its own momentum and nature was given a large part just as it has in the original novel.
Although the series is most of the time quite childish, the themes are mature. I was surprised how well the more serious scenes were executed. Also the way the children's feelings are portrayed is wonderfully natural and sweet.
So, overall it's not perfect and the CGI is a drawback, but neverthless it is very good and especially suitable for someone who enjoys a good storyline and atmosphere in a relaxed pacing.read more
Well, this was good! I was initially worried about the CGI-animation of the characters, but got used to it pretty quickly. It is very nicely done and gets you thinking about Zelda: The Wind Waker's art. Even if I still would have prefered a traditionally animated interpretation of the story, I don't think this is something that should stop people from giving this series a fair chance. And the background paintings is extremely good looking, it truly is a feast for the eyes to see swedish nature depicted in this way!
With as much as 26 episodes the series gets a long time to adapt the book in a fair way, which it does from beginning to end, with some extra fluff that doesn't take away anything from the experience. If you would compare it to the old swedish movie from the 80's, this is definitely the more true to the book. This is because all the relations, events and characters gets the time they deserve to be built up properly. In the movie they basically just piled up all the key scenes as tightly packed as possible, without giving any emotional connection to anything. This is where Sanzoku no Musume Ronja succeeds splendidly.
However, something they did not succeed in was that special feeling of norse fairy tale creatures. The interpretation of the rumphobs (rumpnissar) is pretty awful, both personality-wise and appaerance-wise. The wild harpies (vildvittror) maybe would have worked in a more detailed 2D-animated style, but now they look too flat and cheap. A good equivalent to their classic catchphrase, "Nu ska blodet rinna!" (literally: "now the blood shall flow") is also missing. The gray dwarves (grådvärgar) and the unearthly ones (de underjoriska) were okay though.
Something that the series managed, that neither the old movie nor the book did, was to give all the robbers in Matt's Fort their own distinct personalites. I greatly appreciated this. And also, the interpretation of Skalle-Per was terrific.
Besides some dumb mistakes, like the fact that they pick blueberries and raspberries in spring (they don't become ripe until late summer), the swedish nature is depicted well. Sometimes the tempo maybe was too slow, but this helped more than becoming a hindrance. The thing I missed most from the movie was all the beautiful accapella harmony songs.
This is most definitely the best work of Goro Miyazaki so far. But then he also got really good source material from the great Astrid Lindgren! A fantastic story that always is relevant to people in all ages. Strongly recommended to everyone, give it a fair chance!read more